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The War and Its Origin 



BY 



W. PETERSON 






itftiiSit tfom the Uoirertiiy Maifarine. 
Decvmber. 1914. 






THE WAR AND ITS ORIGIN 

QUR absorption in the incidents and our concern over the 
issue of the tragic drama which is now being enacted 
m Europe tend to lessen our interest in the causes, direct and 
indirect, that brought about the war. And even with the 
evidence now before us a complete history cannot yet be 
written. Disclosures have still to be made, and it may well 
be that fifty years hence memoirs of some of the chief per- 
sonages will see the light from which the world will learn 
mteresting and important facts that now lie hid from view. 
But it is none the less incumbent on each and all of us to be 
able to give, according to our lights, a reason for the faith 
that IS m us. We have not been suffering, on the British side 
at least, from any megalomania or war fever, nor have we 
acted on unreasoning impulse With us it is not a case of 
"my country, right or wrong." But we are fortunate, all 
the same, in feeling that nothing could have happened that 
was better calculated to bind together so instantaneously 
and so effectively the somewhat ill-compacted fabric of our 
Empire. Certain negligible incidents in South Africa have 
not marred the picture: they have only set it in a stronger 
light. Is it possible, then, that the unanimity which has 
mspired our action can leave room for anything to be said 
on the other side? 

Of course there always is another side. We are quite 
accustomed, in private life, to find two sane, sober, and 
sensible persons differing materially in the view they take of 
the same set of facts and phenomena. And when children 
qu;,iTel, we sometimes see them rushing at each other so 
impetuously that both tact and strength are needed to pull 
them away and cahn their surging spirits. For the time 
being they have lost their heads. That is what has happened 
to the nations of Europe-^n more senses than one ! It all 



At? 



oajne so suddenly that there was no time e'en for a quiet 

Only a few weeks before the outbreak of the war a 
briUiant celebration was held in the little university town' of 
Groningen, in Holland, where many British marines and 
other prisoners are now interned. It was a really international 
gathenng, of a kind that will be veri- rare indeed for many 
years to come. Representatives were gathered together from 
most of the great universities of the -orld. In their presence 
and m he hearing also of Queen Wilhelmina, the "Rector 
Magnificus" reminded us of how his university had been 
founded to take — the work of Louvain and Toumay, in the 
days when, three aundred years ago, th' Dutch provincia 
were wrestling with the power of Spain for an independent 
national existence and for liberty of conscience. How little 
did wo think, in tho.se piping days of p-^ace, that within a 
few short weeks the neighbouring country gf Belgium would 
be overrun by an even more ruthless conqueror; and that the 
head of a worid-famous German university, whose hand we 
clasped in cordial friendship, would now b ; handing oiit 
honorary iegroes to two leading representatives of the Krupp 
works at Essen, in recognition of their diabolical preemin- 
ence in the forging of death-dealing weapons of war! 

One never can tell, m the life of a nation any more than 
m private Ufe, what would have happened if a different 
course had been pursued. The other side holds that if Eng- 
land had meant war she should uave said so at once. One 
reason for the insensate hatred by which we are assailed 
to-day is that we are alleged to have waited craftily until 
Germany had become embroiled with both France and Russia 
before jumping in as a make-weight against her. Germany 
sincerely believed that, sooner or later, war with Russia 
(whom she reaUy feared) was inevitable. For a time she seems 
to have hoped that she might have Russia alone to deal with 
and she looked to England to keep Fraj.ce quiet. It was only 
after France too had accepted her chaUenge that we decided 
to go in against her, so as to turn the balance. 



This statement of the C8*'t» is ludicrously at varianoe 
with the facts, as now ascertained. We know that England 
was certainly not scheming how to get into the war, but 
nuch rather how to keep out of it. It may well be questioned 
whether, if we had promptly declared our solidarity with 
France and Russia, the war would thereby have been pre- 
vented. Is it not rather to ou crdif that we hesitated, and 
that we delayed -"°n to the verge of weakness? What 
better proof can be g ven tuat we were free from any actual 
commitment than the fact that, when France first plrdged 
her support to Russia, Sir Edward Grey refused to make any 
promise? No one says now that we ought to have continued 
to stand out, and so have saved our skins. For though one 
can never speak with certainty of what might have been, all 
the evidence goes to show that if we had left France and 
Belgium to their f<»te the German occupation of the coast- 
line would have been much more undisputed than it is to-day; 
and then England's turn would have come ne.xt. She did' 
well to spurn tlie Cyclopean gift of a promise that she would 
be "eaten last!" 

I have said that there was no unrea.voning impulse about 
our intervention. And we did not go in because we were 
ordered to do so by any superor authority. This is not for us 
—as some Americans arc too apt to believe— a war of Kings, 
and Emperor?, and Cabinets. Nor was it through the British 
Foreign Secretary that the final and fateful word was spoken: 
his formula throughout the negotiations was "subject to the 
support of Parliament." That is one of the facts which Mr. 
Bernard Shaw seems altogpther to have overlooked. It was 
the representatives of the nation, assembled in the mother of 
Parliaments, that voted a war credit with practical unanimity; 
and their action in what was put to them as a matter of duty 
and honour at once received the heartiest po&sible endorsa- 
tion, not only of their English constituents but also of men of 
every kind of political per&. asJon throughout all our oversea 
Dominions. This is government by democracy, and con- 
sidering the character of parliar .entary representation in 



England, and the sygtem of ministerial responsibility, not to 
the individual ruler (as in Germany) but to the elected re- 
presentatives of the people, one may o<wert confidently that 
our going to war wan as much a direct act of the British 
nation as it could have been under the most republican con- 
stitution. 

The same critics who profess to believe that E^ngland 
wanted the war taunt us at the same time with not having 
done more to protect Belgium. The truth is that our delay 
and our obvious military unpreparednoss furnish in them- 
selves the best of answers. Yet for both there are compensa- 
tions. The impressive spectacle was afforded at home of an 
immediate cessation from all domestic strife, with a resulting 
solidarity which could not have been achieved if the govern- 
ment had taken what some would have been certain to 
attack as a premature decision; while the growth of our 
military efficiency for fighting purposes is gtiaranteed by the 
fact that the Empire is acting as a unit, in a way that pro- 
mises more for its further organization than another twenty- 
five years of imperial talk. In fact, if the thiug had to be, 
the stage could not be better set than it is, even if we had 
had the whole management in our own hands. Hence these 
(German) tears! 

The inmiediate reason for British intervention was of 
course, as everybody knows, the invasion of Belgium. Oppo- 
sition to this sudden move on the part of Germany W8S for 
England a matter of duty as well as self-interest. She oould 
not well have stood aside while th<* Belgian coast-I'ne was 
passing into the hands of another Power — especially one 
which was showing so little respect for itss plighted word. 
That would have given the opportunity fc "pointing a 
pistol straight at England's heart," as the Germans are now 
trying to do from Antwerp and Ostend and Zeebrugge. 
And there was the further motive of preventing, if possible, 
any would-be combatant from usir? Belgian soil once more 
as a battle-ground. Some craven-hearted ones have asked 
if it would not have been better, especially in view of the 



immediate nequel, if Belgium iiad quiptly acquiesced in the 
passage of German troopn. But what a di.s«ervice to France, 
which had made no difficulty whatever about renewing its 
guarantee to respect Belrian neutrality; It would have been 
like letting a burglar in by a uack-door. Belgium would 
thereby have placed ue'wjlf in a state of w&r with France. 
And there is the further consideration of tl. obligations of 
international law. which cannot be treated as a "scrap of 
paper" without the direst consequences to civilization. It is 
an elementary principle of the law of r tions that a neutral 
state is bound to deny a right of pas.sage to a belligerent. 
Here Britain had a clear duty to perform, in the interest of 
international faith and the right of a weaker nation to main- 
tain its independence. Onf only regret is that it did not 
occur to the King of the beijians, in appealing to England 
for aid, to appeal at the same time to the United States as 
well! All neuii-al nations have an interest in preventing the 
world from being swept back into barbarism, with all its 
attendant phenomena of violence and terror, by an open dis- 
regard of so much as there is of international law. It is only 
a short year since the Lord High Chancellor of England, 
speaking before the American Bar Association on the subject 
of "Higher Nationality," was sanguine enough to specrlate 
on the growth among nations of a habit of looking to cor ,>n 
ideals "sufficiently strong to develop a General Will, ar to 
make the binding power of these ideals a reliable sanction for 
their obligations to each other." Lord Haldane took the 
German word "Sittlichkeit," or "mannerliness," to illustrate 
his meaning, defining it as the system of habitual or cus- 
tomary conduct, ethical rather than legal, which embraces 
all those obligations of the citizens which it is "bad form" 
to disregard. In view of what has happened in Belgium, he 
could not make such an address to-d,'\y . Germany has revived 
the traditional barbarism that looks to conquest and the 
waging of successful war as the main instrument and aim of 
the highest statesmanship. In place of the "Sittlichkeit" 
that was to incline nations in ever-increasing measure to act 



6 

towards each other as "gentlemen," she has substituted 
" Furchtbarkeit "— " frightfuhiees "— the word which was 
deliberately chosen by the German Emperor for the purpose 
of recalling the less shocking example of Attila and his horde 
of Huns. 

But the trouble did not begin in Belgivm. We must go 
further back for such a historical survey as may be possible 
within the limits of this paper. 

At the beginning of the chapter immediately preceding 
stands the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand. But 
there were several chapters previous to that, and due weight 
must be given to the argument of the other side when it 
contends that the murder at Sarajevo was only the culmina- 
tion of a long series of Servian conspiracies against the 
Austro-Hungarian monarchy. The question is one of pre- 
dominance in South Eastern Europe, and the change of 
policy inaugurated by the German Emperor, in that as in 
other directions, is strikingly brought home to us when we 
remember that Bismarck would not have been interested. 
Of the Bulgarian affair in 1885 he had said that it was "not 
worth the bones of a Pomeranian grenadier." The leading 
motive of the assassination was doubtless resentment at the 
way Austria had behaved in the lawless annexation of Bosnia 
and Herzegovina in 1908. It was then that the Emperor 
William took his stand beside his ally "in shining armour." 
Russia had been effectually weakened by her experiences in 
the Japanese War, and it must have been a great humiliation 
to her, in a matter where Slavic interests were concerned, to 
be threatened with hostilities by Germany in the event of 
her attempting to take military action against Austria. To 
Britain the whole thing meant very little, and in the days 
when the streets of London were placarded with posters read- 
ing "To H — 11 with Servia," the ordinary passer-by did not 
find it in his heart to offer any objection. What we had to 
complain of afterwards was the extraordinary character of 
the Austrian ultimatum to Servia, and the circumstances in 
which it seems to have been conceived. It is significant, to 
begin with, that nothing was said about it at Vienna to any 



of the foreign diplomats, except the German Ambassador. 
He knew all about the message before it was sent oflf, and is 
said to have "endorsed every line of it." If it had not been 
formally communicated beforehand to the Foreign Secretary 
at Berlin or the Imperial Chancellor, its terms were known 
to the Emperor and to the representatives of the war-party 
that was engaged in the congenial operation of pushing him 
on to a point from which he could not draw back. There is a 
Prussian ring in the tone of the Austrian message, with 
its headings and sub-headings, its prescribed formulae for the 
Servian reply, and its demand for an answer within forty- 
eight hours. All other competitors for the champion-title of 
the "bully of Europe" may withdraw in favour of those 
who concocted this uncompromising document! 

It was really aimed at Russia and the status quo in the 
Balkans, and the expectation may have been that Russia 
would take it as quietly as she had taken the Austrian viola- 
tion of the Treaty of Berlin six years before. Responding to 
the pressure brought to bear upon her, Servia forwarded a 
reply in which she sought to give satisfaction, asking at the 
same time for a reference, as regarded one of the conditions, 
to the International Court at the Hague. This was rejected 
by Austria, and her representatives were instructed to leave 
the Servian capital without delay. The first efforts of Russian 
diplomacy thereafter were directed towards securing an 
extension of the time-limit allowed by Austria. This was 
refused. Thereupon Sir Edward Grey made more than one 
suggestion (25th and 26th July) for conference and mediation 
—Russia undertaking to stand aside, and to leave the matter 
in the hands of the four neutral nations, France, Gei-many, 
Great Britain, and Italy. But the attitude of Germany, 
declared with a significant element of contradiction among her 
various representatives, was that she agreed with her ally in 
regarding the quarrel as a "purely Austrian concern with 
which Russia had nothing to do."* 

« "pop/'^** the German White Book which savg (p. 4) that Germany wag 
perfectly aware that a possible warlike attitude of Austria-Hungarj- against Servia 
minht brmg Russia mto the field." •» J s 



8 

Obviously it was here that the European train left the 
rails, and we know now where to place the responsibility, 
with all its unspeakable consequences, for refusing to accept 
the Servian reply even as a basis of negotiation. If each and 
every one of the Powers had been sincerely and genuinely 
interested in the maintenance of peace, they could surely 
have attained their ends at this stage by the simple process 
of getting round a table for cwiference and discussion. The 
horror of the denouement is intensified by the fact, subse- 
quently communicated by our representative at Vienna, that 
some change of heart had made Austria willing in the end to 
re-open conversations with Russia on the basis of the Servian 
reply. But meanwhile there had been mutterings of mobiliza- 
tion, and Germany's ul;:matum to France and to Russia 
rendered a peaceful settlement impossible. 

Whether it can be proved, or not— with the material 
at present available— that the military faction at Berlin was 
working for the war which it had so long gloated over in 
imagination, there can be no doubt that Germany must take 
the blame of having blocked the proposed conference. It is 
said by his apologists that the Emperor laboured sincerely to 
the end— working along a private path of his own— in the 
cause of peace. But it must be asked, with all deference, 
what right he had to any private path when the peace of 
Europe was known to be trembling in the balance? This is 
where we might have expected to hear from the various 
Peace and Arbitration Societies, especially on the continent 
of America. With all respect to the obligations of the 
official neutrality so carefully laid down at Washington- 
obligations which individual Americans like ex-President 
Eliot have found it hard to observe — the question naturally 
suggests itself why those who have worked so devotedly for 
peace have not as yet raised their voices, no matter how 
ineffectually, in protest against the mfluences which refused 
to invoke the concert of Europe in the only way by which 
war might have been avoided. By keeping silence they seem 
to me to have rendered much of their previous work ineffec- 



9 



tive and of no account in "practical politics." They are in 
danger of effacing themselves. 

It is surely not uncharitable to say that if Germany had 
really wanted war, she could hardly have taken a better 
method of achieving her purpose. Her previous record is not 
such as to inspire confidence. It is unnecessary to refer to 
her dealings with Denmark in 1864, with Austria in 1866, or 
with France in 1870. There is little credit in having kept the 
peace for forty years if it can be shown that you have gener- 
ally got what you wanted by merely rattling your sabre. 
Germany was saved from the crime of a second attack on 
FVance in 1875. Coming nearer our own times, it is now an 
established fact of history that she would have profited by 
CUT difficulties to intervene in the South African War if it 
had not been for the British navy. In 1905 she imposed her 
will on France, and brought about the resignation of Monsieur 
D Icass^, just before the Algeciras Conference. In 1908 the 
Emperor took his stand "in shining armour" beside his 
Austrian ally, whom he abetted in the annexation of Bosnia 
and Herzegovina. And in 1911 came the incident of the 
Panther and Agadir, in connexion with which we were 
told by Monsieur Barthou in Montreal that if France had 
been saved from invasion she "owed it solely to the steadfast 
loyalty of her English allies." To-day Germany is giving 
proof of the thoroughgoing character of her preparations for 
war. Nothing need be said of her navy-building, in regard 
to which the Emperor indited, early in 1908, a long letter to 
the First Lord of the Admiralty which was obviously designed 
to lull him into a false sense of security. The German navy 
was being built purely for defensive purposes, and England 
was making herself ridiculous, in the Kaiser's opinion, by 
taking any account of it! For these defensive purposes an 
increased expenditure of one million sterling per annum was 
authorized in 1912 for a period of six years. How fortunate 
it is for us that when war broke out the British navy was 
found ready to concentrate in the North Sea, which we shall 
no longer call by its alternative name the "German Ocean!" 



10 



Nor ia it necessary to dwell on Germany's activities 
along other linos, such as the construction of strategical 
railways converging on the Dutch and Belgian frontiers, the 
provision of increased facilities for transports at ports of 
embarkation, the building in foreign territory of concrete 
emplacements for heavy siege-guns, the amazing volume of 
war-literature that issues every year from her publishing 
houses, cuhninating m Bemhardi's book "Germany and the 
Next War," the institution of a far-reaching system of espion- 
age by which she sought to prj' into the naval and military 
secrets of other nations, and read them like an open book. 
She turned a deaf par, as the Liberal party, under Sir Henry 
Campbell-Bannerman, learned to its cost, to all suggestions 
for a reduction of armaments. She showed he.self no friend 
to any of the proposals, especially in regard to mine-laying 
and bomb-throwing, by which it was sought at the Hague 
conferences to mitigate in advance the actual horrors of war. 
And Mr. Asquith has told us quite recently that when, in 
1912, his Cabinet thought it wise to approach her with an 
assurance that we would neither make nor join in any un- 
provoked attack upon her, declaring that "aggression upon 
Germany is not the subject, and forms no part of any treaty, 
understanding, or combination to which Britain is now a 
party, nor will she become a party to anything that has such 
an object," she had the audacity to turn round and ask the 
British Government to abandon the Triple Entente alto- 
gether and give her a pledge of absolute neutrality should she 
become engaged in any war. She asked us, in fact— as Mr. 
Asquith put it— to give her "a free hand" when she should 
choose her own time "to overbear and dominate the European 
worid!" And when Mr. Asquith made this disclosure (2nd 
October, 1914), the North-German Gazette, with true German 
logic, drew the inference that "the English Government was 
ab^ady in 1912 determined under all circumstances to take 
part in a European war on the side of Germany's enemies!" 

This record is hardly calculated, as has been said above, 
to inspire confidence. It does not predispose us to accept 



) 



I 



I 



11 

without demur the statement made by Professors Haeckel 
and Eucken, when they complained, " Our foes have disturbed 
us in our peaceful work, forcing the war upon us very much 
against our desire." Poor injured innocents! We are more 
inclined to view the outbreak of the war in the light of other 
utterances, such as that of von der Goltz, who said that the 
German statesman would show himself a traitor to his 
country who, believing war to be inevitable and being himself 
ready for it, failed to get beforehand with the enemy by 
striking the first blow; or the notorious Bemhardi, who made 
a mere or less secret tour through the United States a year or 
two ago, addressing exclusively German societies, and telling 
them exactly what was going to happen and how it was going 
to be done. Bemhardi 's book includes, among ma*^ ' other 
gems, the following: "All which other nations attamed in 
centuries of natural development— political union, colonial 
possessions, naval power, international trade— was denied to 
our nation until quite recently. What we now wish to obtain 
must he fought for, against a superior force of hostile interests 
and powers." And again: "Let it be the task of our dip- 
lomacy so to shuffle the cards that we may be attacked by 
France, for then there would be a reasonable prospect that 

Russia for a time would remain neutral If we wish 

to bring about an attack by our opponents, we must initiate 
an active policy which, without attacking France, will so 
prejudice her interests or those of England that both these 
States would feel compelled to attack us. Opportunities for 
such procedure are offered both in Africa and in Europe." 
At Zabem, for instance, and in Morocco! Surely Professor 
Gilbert Murray hit the mark when he described such pro- 
grammes as " the schemes of an accomplished burglar ex- 
pounded with the candour of a child." 

Nietzsche correctly expressed the prevailing German 
point of view, when, instead of saying that a good cause 
sanctifies every war, he laid down the maxim that a good 
war justifies and sanctifies every cause! " War and courage," 
he went on to say, " have done greater things than love 



12 

of your neighbour." Germany lias been brought up 
to believe in war, not as a disagreeable necessity, but as a 
high political instrument and a supreme test of national 
character. Imperial security for her implies the power of 
taking the aggressive, without consideration for the rights of 
others or her own good faith, wherever her interests or her 
national pride may seem to suggest. The latest utterance of 
Maxmilian Harden has let the cat out of the bag even in 
regard to this war. "We willed it," he says; "we had to 
will it. Our might will create a new law for Europe. It is 
Germany that strikes. When she has conquered new domains 
for her genius, then the priesthoods of all the gods will praise 

the good war Now that Germany's hour has struck 

she must take her place as the leading power. Any peace 
which did not win her the first position would be no reward 
for her eflforts." Here we have the most recent expression, 
naked and unashamed, of the " swelled-headedness " and 
megalomania which have brought our German friends to 
believe that they have a Heaven-sent mission to dominate 
the whole world. The leadership of Europe is what they 
have been after all the time, to begin with. And here the 
overthrow oi France and England was a necessary prelimin- 
ary. As to France, Bemhardi had shown how, after a 
resistless rush through Belgium, Germany was to "square 
her account with France and crush her so completely that she 
could never again come across our path." And in the same 
spirit von Treitschke, who believed a collision with England 
to be inevitable, had warned his countrymen that the 
"settlement with England would probably be the longest and 
the most diJBBcult." It is as a cons«quence of following the 
will-o'-the-wisp of a German world-wide empire that Germany 
has been brought to the pass in which she stands to-day. 
And when official verification can be secured of the various 
statements which go to prove that the war-party in Berlin 
was confidently counting on war long before it actually broke 
out, and had carefully calculated how and when it could best 
profit from the difficulties by which other nations, notably 



^ 



/ 



13 

England,* were known to be embarrassed, little or nothing will 
be required to make the story complete. When told, it may 
even help to reconcile the German people themselves to the 
defeat and discomfiture which they so richly deserve. 

But even with our present knowledge of the facts, is it 
not amazing to us that Germany should s^ek to fasten the 
blame on the other side, when she herself had drawn up such 
an advance programme as that which has just been described? 
Take England, for instance. Everybody knows, or ought to 
know, that there is no country in the world that has a greater 
interest than England in the continued maintenance of 
peace. She wants nothing from anybody — except to be let 
alone. She certainly would not have been likely, on any 
flimsy pretext, to provoke a conflict with her best customer. 
But the Germans insist that she had two motives for going to 
war against them; first, alarm at the rapid growth of their 
navy; and second, envy and jealousy on account of the 
marvellous expansion of German trade and commerce. No 
doubt the rivalry in naval armaments, where the pace has 
been set by Germany, has for the last ten or twelve years been 
a tremendous strain on i^ngland, especially under a government 
that would far rather have spent the money on something 
else; but she was doing fairly well in the competition, and 
with the Dominions ranging themselves at her side she 
would soon have had nothing more to fear. As to commercial 

• " The time had been carefully chosen. Eni;land was supposed to be on the 
▼erge of a civil war in Ireland and a new mutiny in India. France bad just been 
through a loilit.iry scandal in which it appeared that the army wa.s iihort of boots 
and ammunition. Russia, besides a great strike and internal troubles, was re-arming 
her troops with a new weapon, and the process was only half thruuj4h. Even the 
day was chosen. It was in a week when nearly all the ambat<»<ad(>r8 were away from 
their posts, taking their summer botiday — the EInglish ambassador at Berlin, the 
Russian ambassadors at Berlin and Vienna, the Austrian Foreign Minister, the 
French Prime Minister, the Servian Prime Minister, the Kaiser bim.<:elf, and others 
who might have used a restraining influence on the war party. Suddenly, without 
a word to any outside power, Austria issued an ultimatum to Servia, to be answered 
in forty-eight hours. Seventeen of these hours had elapsed before the other powers 
were informed, and war was declared on Servia liefore all the ambassadors could get 
back to their posts. The leading statesmen of Europe sat up all night trying for 
conciliation, for arbitration, even for bare delav. At the last moment, when the 
Austrian Foreiiai Minister had returned, and had consented to a basis for conversa- 
tions with Russia, there seemed to be a good chance that peace might be preserved: 
but at that moment Germany launched her ultimatum at Russia and France, ana 
Austria was already invading Servia. In twenty-four hours six European powera 
were at war." — Professor Gilbert Murray, in " How can War ever be right ? " 



M 



14 



rivaliy, can anyone imagine Sir Edward Grey sitting down 
at the supreme moment to calculate the volume of trade in 
the Balkans, or who would get the business along the line of 
the Bagdad railway? No: his loyal and devoted efforts 
were directed exclusively to averting the horrors of war 
from Europe. The fact that Mr. Bernard Shaw has recently 
been saying something different should be received every- 
where as a new proof of the truth of the proposition. Eng- 
land's obvious military unpreparedness ought to be the best 
answer to any suggestion that she was planning for war. 
The argmnent against her is being conducted to a large 
extent by persons who profess to have a well-founded belief in 
her treachery, her selfishness, her hypocrisy, and above all 
her decadence and degeneracy. Here my friends the pro- 
fessors have filled an absolutely surprising r6le. One has to 
remember, however, that degeneracy may overtake institu- 
tions as well as nations. You would pot go to the German 
universities to-day for a free and unfettered expression of 
opinion about matters in which the German government 
was directly interested. The influence of the military auto- 
cracy, which has permeated all strata of society, has extended 
itself to the institutions of higher learning— yes, and to the 
churches as well. Many of the leading professors are Privy 
Councillors, and cannot always exercise the privilege of 
independent thought. They have followed too literally 
Treitichke's direction to "be governmental," and have done 
much to justify Mommsen's fears as to what would happen 
to the German people if militarism were allowed to take 
captive every other element. How can we otherwise explain 
Eucken and Haeckel? Here are some of their findings: 
"Undoubtedly the German invasion in Belgium served 
England as a welcome pretext to openly declare her 
hostility;" and again, "England's complaints oi the violation 
of international law are the most atrocious hyprocisy and 
the vilest Pharisaism." 

To these two I add Ostwald, who appears to have had a 
beatific vision of Germany enthroned in central Europe, 



15 



with the other nations grouped around her, and as a counter- 
poise on the Amorican continent the United States, with 
Cunada to the north and the Latin republics to the south 
leaning up against her, as it were, in deferential pose. He 
also seems to approve of a sort of "merger" or "combine" 
for all small nations, while wishing to apply the reverse 
process in the case of Russia. Here are some of Ostwald's 
utterances: "The further end of destroying the source from 
which for two or ihree centuries all European strifes have 
been nourished and intensified, namely, the English policy 
of world dominion I assimie that the English domin- 
ion will suffer a downfall similar to that which I have 
predicted for Russia, and that under these circumstances 
Canada would join the United States, the expanded republ'c 
assuming a certain leadership with reference to the South 
American republics. 

"The principle of the absolute sovereignty of the indi- 
vidual nations, which in the present European tumult has 
proved itself so inadequate and baneful, must be given up 
and replaced by a system conforming to the world's actual 
conditions, and esjjecially to those poMtical and economic 
relations which determine industrial and cultural progress 
and the common welfare." 

We had Ostwald's son lecturing for us at McGill last 
winter, when we little dreamed that such were the sentiments 
of his distinguished father. What a collapse of all our hopes 
of international academic solidarity! And the odd thing is 
that the Germans should profess to believe that it is we who 
have been scheming for their downfall ! It is a relatively un- 
important incident, but as I have mentioned McGill I may 
place on record in these pages the fact that when that 
university had the honour of welcoming a few >'^ars ago the 
highest lady in the land, these words were used: "Nowhere 
is there a fuller realization than in our national universities 
of the debt we owe to the country which ha 3 sent us a 
daughter so distinguished: and our prayer is that in the 
coming time Britain may march forward along the path of 



I« 

the Empire wSn^n ^"^ university centre throughout 

Britain's daylsSonethaUh?'" r''l\'" ''^^ ^^^^^ ^'^^t 
methods is nL Siiit f,l ' T^''* '^\^'^ ™ ^^^ ^^"btful 
Empire of wWch wf c^^^. .IJ'^'^S^ ^^P' '^^' '^^ 
to the vital power of Great^^ ^^. ?°"' "°' correspond 

had better ZpJ^oZ^T^ t'lltr!!'" '"^ ''''' '"^^ 
ready and able to takp ^t, k k • stronger successor, 

all histoo^ have we h^ aTL T'""! ^^^^^ P«^^«P« '« 
old saw, O^J Z>Z ^/J^i^' ''^ ^°:; *^^ application of the 

fromThe t:^ I re fe'tUt^"' \'''^'''' ^'^-'^ ^-- 
we regard it as a Sa' wa? iH t^ 'f T ^^^ *^*^ 
British Blue-books Wbrnrefe.^r.T'^/'"*^ ""^^^ '^' 
"war in defence of the Om^re" !^*km- ^°' ^"^'^ ^ » 
verted into a fact Th JT« ' - ^^'^'^'^y «"ddenly con- 

though per^X I W thTtT'.'^'^^'^'^^^^^^P^^- 
appear from our mid«fTh i. ^^^ °' P^'^^^ ^'^^ ^s- 

cairulating\rt"c?nldt°wrd tTnIhe" f^^ ^"^^^''^^ ^"^ 
contingency of "England embarLg o", ta/^^^^^^^^^ 
Canadian Parliament could not aoorovp '^ H m ^ *^® 
t out of his hpoH fKof Ji! approve. He could not get 

whethe/he would ''hi Ih' ''T''''' ^' ^"^ *° «°^«'der was 
he would orloufd not fil% ^'T)T'" '"^*^^^ ^^ ^^^^^er 
foe was at orgites What h' u . ^°' ^" '^' *™« *^« 
the situation home to evT.^ ^"^^* ^'^^ *'""" inwardness of 
Mr. Boura^ayTnd to Ih^nT '" ^"""^ ^'"^^P*' ^^ ^^^^^^^ 
was the spectacle of th. r *''''^"'"* Dominions as well 
spectacle of the German Ambassador in London 



17 

trying to bargain with the British Govemnent that, if 
England would only remain neutral. Germany would promise 
not to take any more of the soil of France but only the French 
coUmiet. If the French colonies now. why not the English 
next? It may be hoped that, with further progress in the 
direction of imperial organization— still along the line of 
voluntary cooperation- we shall >♦ rid now of the phrase 
which has so long disfigured the official publications of the 
Imperial Conference, "Shou:d any of the Dominions desire 
to assist in the defence of the Empire at a time of real danger." 
That is surely a worn-out formula, imposed on a scrupulous 
home-government by the apathy and half-heartedness of 
colonial statesmen. 

Even a warlike paper such as this must not be allowed to 
close without a word of praise for so doughty an ant"«?oni8t. 
That the British are good sportsmen is proved by ueir 
admiration for the exploits of the German commander of the 
Emden. We cannot praise other things the Germans have 
done in the course of this war— their spying and lying, their 
mine-Kying, their indiscriminate bomb-throwing, their de- 
struction of public buildings and artistic treasures, their 
terrorizing of the civil population, their military execution of 
hostages and their brigahd-like levy of huge ransoms from 
the cities through which they have passed. In olden times 
the robber-chief would build his castle at the head of some 
narrow defile, so as to take toll of all who went that way; but 
his modem representative moves his minions from one place 
to another, and presents his bill of expenses as he goes! 
These are certainly unwelcome results of the German love of 
thoroughness. There is much disillusionment in store for the 
Germans in the near future. At present they can see nothing 
but red. And they seem to believe everything they are told— 
which perhaps, after aU, is not very much. It is an astounding 
fact that while tht British Foreign Office has included in its 
Blue-book, and has spread broadcast over the whole world, 
an official translation of the German White Book, giving the 
German account of the origin of the war. its German transla- 



18 

tion of the British White Paper (in which the documents are 
left to 8peak for themselves) haa to be smuggled into Germany. 
Such a state of things cannot long continue. Meanwhile we 
can even afford to admire the spectacle of a great nation rally- 
ing round its ruler under the inspiration of an overwhelming 
national sentiment. The crfewd that attacked the British 
Embassy at Berlin only knew what it had been told: ita 
demeanour contrasted unfavourably w<*h that of those who 
gathered outside Buckingham Palace , the time of the 
declaration of war— not jubilant and shouting, but calm 
quiet, and determined. And the so-called "mercenaries"' 
whom Britain sent forward into the fi.mg-line were and are 
much \v ter posted in the facta of the case than the German 
conscn, hurried off with his identification disc almost 
before he iiaa had t.me to learn who it is that he is going o 
fight and where. But Germany has indeed shown a united 
front, which it will maintain till questions begin to be asked 
and answered. Then will come a rude awakening. The 
national conscience cannot be left forever in the keeping of 
the bureaucracy at Beriin. The German system of adminis- 
tration is one of the most efficient, if not the most efficient, 
in the worid. In fact I am sometimes inclined to thiak that 
SIX months o^ German rule would be a very good thing for 
many of us-say in th Province of Quebec! But it carries 
with It a cerr .in suppression of inu^iduality which would 
not find favour with u.s. The average citizen m Germany is 
ovrr apt to take his views from those whom he looks up to as 
the authorized and accredited representatives of the nation. 
He has too small a voice in the regulation of his ow: affairs 
Especially in connexion with such an issue as the one under 
d'scussion, It is the bureaucracy that does the main part of 
the work in the i loulding of public o'linion. 

That is why, in spite of all our admiration for German 
thoroughness and efficiency, we need not abase oursdves 
before the German system. We admire their patriotism, and 
their utter self-surrender at the call of country. We can 
learn much from their skiU in organization, their intensity of 



10 

purpose their devotion to work, their moral 6arne«tncM.s. and 
U.e.r achievements in the field of science and art and letterH. 

I ut on our side we have also .something to .show -omo 
claimn to consideration that ought to .save m from organized 
m..src>presentation and hate. The Empire which has nome 
mto collision with Germany is also the fn.i of high moral as 
well as .rreat practical qualities, which have extorted the 
admiration, if sometimes also the envy, of the world. We do 
not recognize ourselves when we are told that we are merel- 
a robber state," which for centuries ha.s prospered as the 

bully of Europe "-wo who have fought and bled for 
freedom since the days of the Great Charter down to Napoleon f 
Our watchword is liberty rather than dominion, and .self- 
governing institutions are to us the breath of life \\'c have 
no .sympathy with the methods or ideals of al.soluti.sm and 
autocratic government. Within the boundaries of our 
Empire peoples of widely different origin, and at various 
stages of civilization, are free to develop them.selve.s spon- 
taneously, and without domineering interference, to the 
highest of which they may be capable. W,. do not undor- 
stind any of the new-fangled jargon abo.it the State being 
superior to ordinary considerations of morality, and about 
Its material mterests being the one rule that transcends even 
the obligations of conscience. To u.s good i^ g(K,d. and evil 
IS evil, alike for the community and for tlu- indivic tLs of 
whom the community consists. We take no part in the 
worship of mere might, or force, or power, and we do not 
share m the cult which makes war an immutable law of 
humam^y. '"The living God will .see to it." said Treit.sohke 

1, ^ ."^^''u ^^'''^^'^ '^'"'" ^' * *''"''*^'<^ medicine for man- 

kind^ This dictum may summarize one aspect of the phil- 
osophy of histoxy, but when it is applied in the concrete as a 
justification or e.xplanation of the atrocities we are witnes.sine 
to-day our .souls revolt against it. We want to help to de^ 
Ihrone that evil spirit of militarism which, rooted as it is in 
the bad traditions of a ruthless past, has spread its baleful 
influence all over Germany. The world will breathe more 



20 

freely if we can establish an international alliance against 
military despotism, so that never again shall it be in the power 
of a small group of individuals to work such havoc with the 
bodies and souls of men. The supreme compensation we 
8ha claim when the day of reckoning comes is that there 
shal be a pause in the mad race of armaments. England has 
tnt^ for this before, but now she will speak, let us hope 
with the voice of united Europe. As Mr. Frederic Harrison 
has put It, m his recent pamphlet on "The Meaning of the 
War : If the armies of Germany and Austria, of Russia 
and of France, are by international convention.s and European 
aw reduced to moderate proportions, the blood tax will 
be taken off the nations of the world. The peaceful union of a 
European confederation may begin to be a reality, and at 
last the progress of civilization may advance m security, free 
from the nightmare of perpetual expectation of war " 

Meanwhile, till that time— the real "Dav"— arrives, we 
can all with the utmost confidence, each and every one 
among us, repeat as our own the words of the PrimeMinister 
of England, when he said: "I do not believe that any 
nation ever entered into a great controversv-and this is one 
of the greatest history will ever know-with a clearer con- 
science and stronger conviction that it is fighting, not for 
aggression, not for the maintenance even of its own selfish 
interc t, but that it is fighting in defence of principles the 
maintenance of which is vital to the civilization of the 
world. '